Leon Kroll was born in New York City. His family was not supportive of his desire to train as an artist, so he put himself through the National Academy of Design by working odd jobs. He was awarded a scholarship for study in Paris, where he enrolled at the Academie Julien. When he returned to New York around 1912 Kroll began to receive recognition as a realist painter. He exhibited in the 1913 Armory Show and befriended such realists as Robert Henri and George Bellows.
Throughout his career Kroll was commissioned to paint several murals in the United States, namely for the Justice Department in Washington, DC, and the War Memorial Building in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France and was given a President’s medal for a lifetime of distinguished service at the National Academy of Design. Kroll’s works are included in such prestigious collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Whitney Museum of American Art to name a few.